A study was conducted to investigate the effect of apical meristem destruction on axillary bud growth of smooth cayenne pineapple in South-South Nigeria. Split crown technique (SCT) was used for the study in a randomized complete block design with four replicates and four treatments. The number of days to sucker emergence from the axillary buds were significantly different among the treatments ranging from 36.6 days to 48.8 days. The results indicated high apical dominance in the control with intact meristem (no sucker produced) while the crowns with destroyed meristem varied in their rate of sucker production. Crowns that were split into four had the highest number of suckers (543) than crowns split into two (375) during the period of study. Crowns with meristem destroyed without splitting produced the lowest number of suckers (166). It was also observed that sucker orientation during emergence differed among treatments. The study showed variable response of pineapple crowns to sucker production through macro-propagation. Splitting of crowns into four which gave the best result could be easily adopted by local farmers in Nigeria for plantlet multiplication and expansion of pineapple plantations.
Key words: Ananas comosus, split crown, propagation, apical meristem and axillary buds.
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